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May 2015 Director's Status Report

Click on the links below to view sections of the May 2015 Director's Status Report:


Status of FY 2015, 2016, and 2017 Budgets:

FY 2015

The President signed into law a $1.1 trillion Omnibus spending bill on December 16, 2014 to keep most of the federal government funded through September 2015. For NIA, the FY 2015 level was $1,199.468 million. An amount of $1.945 million was transferred to the NIH Office of AIDS Research for HIV/AIDS, resulting in a revised operating level of $1,197.523 million. This amount includes $25 million for Alzheimer’s Disease funding. The operating budget allows for 1,424 total research project grants (RPGs), including 380 new and competing awards. The estimate includes $98.244 million for research centers, $40.378 million for other research, and $25.150 million for research training. The R&D contract mechanism will be supported at a level of $57.200 million.

FY 2016

The FY 2016 President’s budget was released to the public on February 2, 2015. The President’s request for NIH is $31.311 billion, which is $1 billion higher than the FY 2015 level of $30.311 billion.

The NIA budget request for FY 2016 is $1,267.078 million, an increase of $69.555 million over the FY 2015 comparable enacted level. This amount includes $50 million for Alzheimer’s Disease funding. The NIA FY 2016 Congressional Justification can be viewed at

For NIA, the FY 2016 President’s Budget will allow for 1,538 total research project grants (RPGs), including 403 new and competing awards. The estimate includes $103.196 million for research centers, $40.378 million for other research grants, and $25.150 million for research training. The R&D contract mechanism will be supported at a level of $65.311 million.

FY 2017

Preliminary work on the budget for FY 2017 has begun using the FY 2016 President’s budget request as the base. After intermediate stages of review, the President’s budget request for FY 2017 will be presented to Congress in February 2016, at which time it will become available to the public.

BUDGET MECHANISM (in thousands)
MECHANISM FY 2014 Final Allocation FY 2015 Operating Plan* FY 2016 President's Budget **
Research Grants: No. Amount No. Amount No. Amount
Research Projects:            
Noncompeting 958 492,293 958 496,721 1,040 539,411
Administrative Supplements (106) 10,438 (107) 10,500 (107) 10,500
Competing 385 260,875 380 266,864 403 275,567
Subtotal 1,343 763,606 1,338 774,085 1,443 825,478
SBIR/STTR 80 32,084 86 34,650 95 38,071
Subtotal, RPG 1,423 795,690 1,424 808,735 1,538 863,549
Research Centers:            
Specialized/Comprehensive 78 90,653 84 97,098 88 102,050
Clinical Research 0 0 0 0 0 0
Biotechnology 0 0 0 0 0 0
Comparative Medicine 0 1,146 0 1,146 0 1,146
Research Centers in Minority Institutions 0 0 0 0 0 0
Subtotal, Centers 78 91,799 84 98,244 88 103,196
Other Research:            
Research Careers 199 27,355 203 27,960 203 27,960
Cancer Education 0 0 0 0 0 0
Cooperative Clinical Research 0 0 0 0 0 0
Biomedical Research Support 0 0 0 0 0 0
Minority Biomedical Research Support 0 0 0 0 0 0
Other 52 12,157 53 12,418 53 12,418
Subtotal, Other Research 251 39,512 256 40,378 256 40,378
Total Research Grants 1,752 927,001 1,764 947,357 1,882 1,007,123
Training: FTTP   FTTP   FTTP  
Individual 150 6,430 150 6,924 148 6,924
Institutional 388 17,176 388 18,226 384 18,226
Total, Training 538 23,606 538 25,150 532 25,150
Research & Development Contracts 81 59,113 78 57,200 78 65,311
(SBIR/STTR) (4) (349) (4) (360) (4) (360)
Intramural Research   118,794   123,316   124,549
Research Management & Support   43,203   44,500   44,945
Total, NIA   1,171,717   1,197,523   1,267,078

*FY 2015 includes $25 million for Alzheimer's Disease

**FY 2015 includes $50 million for Alzheimer's Disease

Legislative Update

Proposed Legislation of Interest to the NIA/NIH:

S. 289 – On January 28, 2015, Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) introduced S. 289, the American Cures Act. The bill would authorize additional investment for NIH, CDC, Department of Defense Health Program, and Veterans Medical & Prosthetics Research Program and also create a budget cap adjustment through the remaining years of the Budget Control Act. S. 289 was referred to the Senate Committee on the Budget.

S. 318/H.R. 531 – On January 29, 2015, and January 26, 2015, Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) introduced S. 318 and H.R. 531, respectively, the Accelerating Biomedical Research Act. These bills would prioritize funding for the National Institutes of Health to discover treatments and cures, to maintain global leadership in medical innovation, and to restore the purchasing power the NIH had after the historic doubling campaign that ended in fiscal year 2003. Senator Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) co-sponsored S. 318 and Representatives Brian Higgins (D-NY) and Peter King (R-NY) co-sponsored H.R. 531. S. 318 and H.R. 531 were referred to Senate and House Committees on the Budget.

S. 320 – On January 29, 2015, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced S. 320, the Medical Innovation Act. The bill would authorize the collection of supplemental payments to increase investments in medical research. S. 320 was referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

H.R. 596 – On February 3, 2015, the House passed by a vote of 239-186, H.R. 596, a bill to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148) and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-152). The bill would task the House Committees on Education and the Workforce, Energy and Commerce, Judiciary, and Ways and Means to report legislation to the House of Representatives proposing changes to existing law within each committee’s jurisdiction. Provisions of interest to NIH that would be repealed include the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute, the elevation of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities from a Center to an Institute, the establishment of an Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee, and provisions authorizing NIH to expand research on pain, congenital heart disease, and postpartum depression. The ACA also requires the Secretary of HHS to support emergency programs across Department and the Director of NIH to conduct research on new screening tests and methods for prevention and early detection of breast cancer in young women. The bill was introduced on January 28, 2015, by Representative Bradley Byrne (R-AL) and was jointly referred to the House Committees on Energy and Commerce, Education and the Workforce, Ways and Means, Judiciary, Natural Resources, Rules, House Administration, Appropriations, and Budget.

H.R. 744 – On February 4, 2015, Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) introduced H.R. 744, the Medical Innovation Act. The bill, the companion to Senator Elizabeth Warren’s S. 320, would authorize the collection of supplemental payments increase investments in medical research. H.R. 744 was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

H.R. 777 – On February 5, 2015, Representative Kathy Castor (D-FL) introduced H.R. 777, the Permanent Investment in Health Research Act. The bill would amend the Public Health Service Act to provide funding for NIH. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, in addition to the Committees on the Budget and Appropriations.

H.R. 1468 – On March 19, 2015, Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ) introduced H.R. 1468, the Global Brain Health Act of 2015. The bill would galvanize United States Government programs in support of brain health for global victims of autism, hydrocephalus and Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, and for other purposes. Title III includes provisions relevant to the NIA, which direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to enter into negotiations with the World Health Organization to develop a global plan for addressing AD and other forms of dementia, to develop international partnerships to ensure cross-collaboration on this plan, and to work with other international partners to develop a Global Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Fund, among other activities. The bill was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, in addition to the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Other legislative items of interest:

At the request of Susan Ross, Clerk, House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, HHS, Education, NIH hosted a visit on January 20 for the new Chair of the Subcommittee, Representative Tom Cole (R-OK). The Chairman invited all of the members of the Subcommittee to join him and the attendees, in addition to the Chairman, were Representatives Steve Womack (R-AR), Dr. Andy Harris (R-MD), new member Charles Dent (R-PA), Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), and Nita Lowey (D-NY). Also attending were Susan Ross and John Bartrum from the Subcommittee; Stephen Steigleder, Minority Clerk; Sean Murphy, Maria Bowie, Steve Waskiewicz, and Stratton Edwards from Rep. Cole’s office; Chris Meekins, Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy for Representative Harris and Irene Harris, daughter of the Congressman; Erik Anthony, LA for Representative DeLauro; and Dana Miller, Associate Appropriations staff for Representative Lowey.

On March 3, the House Appropriations Subcommittee, held a hearing on the FY2016 President’s Budget for NIH. Francis Collins, Director, NIH, testified. He was accompanied by Anthony Fauci, Director, NIAID, Thomas Insel, Director, NIMH, Gary Gibbons, Director, NHLBI, Jon Lorsch, Director, NIGMS, and Nora Volkow, Director, NIDA.

On March 10, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions held a hearing entitled “Continuing America’s Leadership in Medical Innovation for Patients.” Francis Collins, Director, NIH, and the Commissioner of FDA testified.

On March 25, the Senate Special Committee on Aging held a hearing on Alzheimer’s Disease, entitled “The Fight Against Alzheimer’s Disease: Are We on Track to a Treatment by 2025.” Dr. Richard Hodes, Director, NIA, testified. Other witnesses included B Smith, former model, and restaurateur, who has been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, and her husband, Dan Gasby; Ronald Petersen, Ph.D., M.D, Professor of Neurology, Director and Chair, Cora Kanow Professor of Alzheimer’s Disease Research, Mayo Clinic Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center and Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care, and Services; Kimberly Stemley, Caregiver and Chief Financial Officer, Rx Outreach; and Heidi R. Weirman, M.D., Division Director of Geriatrics and Medical Director, Maine Medical Center and Elder Care Services, MaineHealth.

Submitted by: Melinda Kelley, Ph.D., Senior Health Policy Analyst, National Institute on Aging

Staff Changes

Dr. Richard Suzman, director of NIA’s Division of Behavioral and Social Research, passed away in the night of Wednesday, April 15. He was 72. As some of you may know, Richard had amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. His death is a deep loss for NIA and for the community at large.

Richard was one of the most creative and innovative scientists I know, who with an unrivaled energy and determination helped transform the behavioral and social sciences. He was a critical figure in advancing the science of demography and developed new fields, including the bio-demography of aging. In his 30 years of distinguished federal service, Richard led the development of several new transdisciplinary fields of study, including neuro-economics, social neuroscience, and behavioral genetics. His career changed our understanding of longevity and aging, integrating economic and social behavior with biological and clinical aspects of advancing age.

At NIH, his vision contributed to important trans-NIH initiatives. The Common Fund’s interest in the Science of Behavior Change and Health Economics are already making a difference, through studies of new ways to intervene in health behaviors, including tobacco use, diabetes management, and the dissemination of and adherence to medical regimens. His understanding of how economics can affect health and aging has already changed trajectories for participation in pension savings in the U.S., for the benefit of today’s older Americans and generations to come.

Perhaps his key achievement is the U.S. Health and Retirement Study, which has grown to encompass a group of connected international surveys that cover more than half the world’s population. These related surveys allow researchers to compare data on aging cross-nationally, demonstrating how both common and unique biological, cultural, institutional, and policy features can impact health and well-being with age. The loss of Richard will not only be felt here, but internationally.

Richard was a tireless advocate for the best in science and for the health of older people and their families. We remember Richard Suzman, both the scientist and the irascible character, with admiration and affection. At a personal level, Richard was for me a constant example of what can be accomplished through vision, energy, and intellect. If I was ever tempted to lapse into complacency, Richard made it clear that this would not be tolerated.

--Richard Hodes

Dr. Jyan-yu Austin Yang has joined the Division of Neuroscience as the Program Director for Etiology of Alzheimer’s Disease in the Neurobiology of Aging Branch. He received his Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from the University of California, Irvine in 1993 and, following postdoctoral training in the cell biology of beta-amyloid at the same institution, Dr. Yang moved to New York University and its affiliate, the Nathan Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research, as an Assistant Professor. He moved back to the west coast in 2002 where he held faculty appointments in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Southern California. Prior to joining the NIA, Austin was an Associate Professor in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology and in the Greenebaum Cancer Center at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Dr. Yang’s research over the years has centered on understanding the cellular and molecular events leading to Alzheimer’s disease. He has focused on proteomic approaches, using new mass spectrometry and bioinformatics techniques he developed, to define posttranslational modifications and degradation pathways of the tau and amyloid proteins that are involved in the pathogenesis of AD. In addition, his group has developed a series of computational tools for the analyses of various stable isotope-based shotgun proteomics datasets. Dr. Yang has served as an Ad Hoc reviewer for NIH, including NIA, study sections and was a regular member of the CSR Synapses, Cytoskeleton and Trafficking (SYN) study section.

While at NIA, Dr. Chen was responsible for oversight and development of the Sensory and Motor Disorders of Aging program in the Division. She brought application of cutting-edge technologies to the research enterprise through an initiative to encourage optogenetic approaches to aging brain research. Dr. Chen was an advocate for research on treatment and prevention of chronic pain in the elderly and served as the NIA liaison for the NIH Pain Consortium.

Carmen P. Moten, Ph.D., MPH., has joined the Scientific Review Branch, NIA, and as a Scientific Review Officer (SRO) she will deal mostly with applications on behavioral and social research. She comes from the Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities (CRCHD) at National Cancer Institute (NCI) where as a Program Director (PD), Dr. Moten planned, developed, and managed programs that addressed basic, clinical, and behavioral research designed to reduce and/or eliminate cancer and co-morbid health disparities. Prior to joining CRCHD, Dr. Moten served as PD of the Primary Care, Health Disparities, and Socio-Cultural Mental Health Services Research Programs in the Division of Services and Intervention Research at NIMH. There she provided scientific leadership and oversight of research and training grants, cooperative agreements, and FOAs. She collaborated with federal agencies, investigators, clinical practice groups and community organizations about research, training, and related activities that contribute to mental health treatment and health-related outcomes. Her work also included service on NIMH, NIH, HHS and inter-departmental committees addressing critical issues relevant to mental health and co-morbid translational research. Dr. Moten’s research interests include behavioral epigenetics, psychobiology, epidemiology, health services research, health disparities, healthcare delivery, preventive interventions, social determinants of health community based participatory research, and other behavioral health related issues, such as, trauma, stigma, and risk and protective factors. She teaches a psychology course at Howard University where she has an appointment as an Adjunct Associate Professor.

Dr. Moten received her Ph.D. from Howard University, in Developmental and Personality Psychology and her MPH from the University of North at Chapel Hill, in Health Behavior and Health Education.

On February 6, 2015, Mr. Larry Pointer, Extramural Staff Assistant assigned to BSR by DEA, left NIA for a promotion at CSR.

On April 6, 2015, Ms. Anita Cherry joined NIA as an Extramural Staff Assistant assigned to BSR by DEA. Ms. Cherry is new to the Federal Government, but she has many years of experience in customer support, accounting, and managing special events and programs

Institute-Sponsored Meetings, Workshops, and Conferences

  1. Past Meetings

GSIG Seminars (February 5 & May 7 & August 6, 2015)

This seminar series is sponsored by the trans-NIH GeroScience Interest Group (GSIG). The GeroScience Interest Group (GSIG) was formed to enhance opportunities for discussion of the intersection between the biology of aging and the biology of disease and conditions that are of interest across ICs. It is focused on basic biology, but with a longer view towards translation. These seminars will focus on the areas of aging and diverse aging-related diseases, with emphasis on the intersections between the basic biology of aging and the basic biology of the disease. Such topics are important to further the goals of the GSIG.

The three seminars are scheduled for Feb 5, 2015; May 7, 2015 and Aug 6, 2015.

(Contact(s): Drs. Felipe Sierra/Ronald Kohanski, DAB, 301/496-6402).

The Alzheimer’s Disease Research Summit 2015: Path to Treatment and Prevention

The Alzheimer's Disease Research Summit drew more than 500 leading researchers and advocates with a shared goal—to develop a scientific agenda that speeds the development of effective therapies to treat and prevent Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Held Feb. 9-10 on the NIH campus and hosted by NIA, the conference focused on new research models and intensifying public-private collaborations to identify and speed the delivery of promising therapeutic targets.

Learn more here: and

For more information, please contact Suzana Petanceska 301-496-9350, Email:

Health Economics: Personalized Health Care and Prevention Steering Committee Meeting – February 25, 2015 - Bethesda, MD

The mandate for the Steering Committee (SC) for the cooperative agreements funded under RFA-RM-12-024 is to identify, develop, and implement strategies to realize value to the scientific community and the NIH beyond the contributions of the individual projects. The Steering Committee organized this meeting with researchers, officials from NIH and other agencies, guidelines-setting entities, health care providers, and insurers to identify needs and opportunities for economic research on personalization in health care. The report of the meeting is available on the Health Economics website. For additional information please contact Dr. John Haaga at BSR (301-496-3131).

NIA Sponsored Symposium on Aging at 56th Annual Drosophila Research Conference at Genetics Society of America (GSA) - March 6-7, 2015

Genetic model systems are very important for understanding the mechanisms of aging processes. For invertebrate models, the majority of aging research has been carried out in C. elegans. Compared to C. elegans, Drosophila has been under-utilized for aging research. Drosophila has many advantages over C. elegans, including more complex organ system, sophisticated behavior, and more distinctive aging phenotypes. The Drosophila Research Conferences, organized by Genetics Society of America, has been held every year for 55 years. We sponsored a session (symposium) on the topic of aging at this annual fly meeting. The objectives were: (1) to improve the representation of aging research at the meeting; (2) to showcase some NIA-funded research; (3) to attract fly researchers to the study of aging. The meeting was held on March 4-8, 2015 in Chicago, IL.

(Contact: Dr. Max Guo, DAB, 301/496-6402).

Subjective Well-being Measures in Interventional and Observational Studies in Older Individuals – March 12-13, 2015 – Bethesda, MD

The goals of this workshop were to identify measures of subjective well-being (SWB) that are most appropriate for use in observational and interventional studies in older individuals, and to provide investigators with the necessary knowledge and tools to successfully incorporate SWB measures into such studies. The meeting brought together select individuals with expertise in measurement of subjective well-being (SWB) and/or use of those measures in health-related studies, and individuals with expertise in observational and/or interventional research in older adults to encourage dialogue and cross-fertilization of ideas. This workshop was sponsored by the NIA Division of Behavioral and Social Research (DBSR) and the Division of Geriatrics and Clinical Gerontology (DGCG). The workshop generated recommendations that may lead to a publication as well as a future funding opportunity that, if approved for development, will be presented at a future NACA meeting.

Contact: Dr. Basil Eldadah, DGCG, 301-496-6761, or Dr. Lisbeth Nielsen, DBSR, 301-402-4156

Emotional and Health Consequences of Early Life Adversity: Preconference to the Society for Affective Science – April 9, 2015, Oakland, CA

The goal of this preconference workshop is to explore whether affective science can help to shed light on the mechanisms by which early life adversity affects physical health and well-being over the life course, and to potentially translate insights derived from this perspective into primary and secondary preventive interventions. This preconference workshop will bring together experts in: 1) the epidemiology of physical health consequences of early adversity; 2) the epidemiology of mental health consequences of early adversity; 3) how emotional development is altered by early adversity; 4) what the emotional characteristics of early adversity are in adulthood; 5) what is known about central and peripheral physiological mechanisms of 1 and 2; and 6) how affective science can inform clinical interventions to improve health outcomes in those exposed to early life adversity. For additional information please contact Dr. Lis Nielsen at BSR (301-402-4156).

NIA Sponsored Symposium on Aging at 2nd Puerto Rico Cell Signaling Meeting - April 10, 2015

This one day meeting, organized by graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, presents current research in cell signaling and promotes collaborations among scientists. This meeting is open to basic and clinical investigators, graduate and undergraduate students currently working in the field of cell signaling. This year’s scientific theme is on aging. The topics of presentations include “epigenetic based changes in mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) function with aging”, “the rhesus monkey as a model of translational research age-related disease”, and “impact of aging on nutrient-induced signaling pathways in mesenchymal stem cells”. The objective is to promote aging research and attract young scientists, including students and postdocs, from diverse backgrounds into aging research.

(Contact: Dr. Max Guo, DAB, 301/496-6402).

Developing Biomarker Arrays Predicting Sleep and Circadian-Coupled Risks to Health April 27-28, 2015 - Bethesda, MD

NIA, along with NHLBI and the Sleep Research Society, will co-sponsor a workshop entitled “Developing Biomarker Arrays Predicting Sleep and Circadian-Coupled Risks to Health” on April 27-28, 2015 in Bethesda, MD. The goal of this workshop is to discuss research needed to develop diagnostic tools to facilitate the assessment of health risks associated with sleep/circadian deficiency and whether these health risks are reduced by treatment. The workshop will bring together prominent researchers with expertise in biomarkers and sleep in equal proportions. Ample time is planned for in person small group discussions so that experts in biomarker development can explore potential avenues with experts in sleep and circadian biology. Four “use cases” have been identified to focus the discussion of biomarker development: a) acute sleep loss, b) chronic insufficient sleep, c) circadian phase and circadian disruption, and d) the common disorder obstructive sleep apnea. Workshop recommendations will be used to inform NIH, CDC, and other Federal Agencies concerned with the risks that sleep deprivation poses to health, public safety, and performance metrics. For more information please contact Miroslaw (Mack) Mackiewicz (DN) 301-496-9350, Email:

NIA Sponsored Symposium “Rejuvenating the Aging Immune System” at the American Association of Immunologists (AAI) Annual Meeting - May 9, 2015

This NIA sponsored symposium is due to be held at the American Association of Immunologists annual meeting on May 9, 2015 in New Orleans. LA. The NIA sponsors a symposium each year to highlight recent findings in the area of Rejuvenating the Aging Immune System.

The purpose of this symposium is to have speakers present state of the science findings on this research topic.

(Contact: Dr. Rebecca Fuldner, DAB, 301/496-6402).

  1. Future Meetings

NAS Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences Spring Meeting:
Developing Interventions to Reduce Social Isolation and/or Loneliness in Mid- to Late-Life – June 4, 2015 - Washington DC

Purpose and Objectives:

BSR has been advised in the course of its quadrennial divisional review by the National Advisory Council on Aging to expand our interventions portfolio in this area. We seek expert input on the most promising strategies for advancing intervention efforts in this area.

Questions for an Expert Meeting:

  • What study designs will permit rigorous testing of theory; e.g., shedding light on pathways linking social contexts and individual differences to loneliness and/or social isolation, or explicitly testing theories about how to change social relationships?
  • What strategy holds greatest promise at this juncture? Should one focus on small studies with shorter term outcomes, targeting social isolation, loneliness, and networks rather than health to demonstrate ability to impact these targets? Should one conduct larger scale trials to permit identification of responders and non-responders, and the mechanisms that account for response effects?

For additional information please contact Dr. Lis Nielsen at BSR (301-402-4156).

NAS Committee on Population Spring Meeting: Future Directions in the Demography of Aging – June 2015 - Washington DC

As part of its regular semi-annual meeting, the Committee on Population will bring together small group of experts to discuss future directions in the demography of aging.

For additional information please contact Dr. John Haaga at BSR (301-496-3131).

NAS Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences Meeting on Understanding Pathways to Healthy Aging – June 11-12, 2015 - Washington DC

The NACA 2013 BSR Review recommended the measurement of time-use and physical activities in population surveys to support aging research in a number of domains. Specifically, they noted that detailed information on the context of behavior can inform more effective interventions and that the collection of activity, biomarker, and time use data would support research that illuminates the pathways by which social, psychological, economic, and behavioral factors affect health in middle-aged and older adults. BSR will engage the experts at the Committee on National Statistics on the subject of time-use and activity measurement in surveys to begin developing plans to address the NACA recommendation.

For additional information please contact Dr. Lis Nielsen at BSR (301-402-4156.)

Ninth Annual Division of Aging Biology New Investigators Forum (DAB NIF) - June 18-19, 2015

Purpose: Outreach

The purpose of the forum is to bring together new awardees (i.e. Principal Investigators who can be identified as “new investigators”) in the spring of the year following their award, in order to allow NIA program staff to get acquainted with new PIs as well as allow the participants to network with each other. Each new PI will give a brief talk describing the planned research (or results to date) with an emphasis on how it relates to the area of aging research. The overriding goal of the meeting is to encourage continued success for the new PIs as well as attempt to maintain their focus on the area of aging research. As a result of past meetings we have found that the PIs have indeed set up new collaborations. They also are much more likely to keep us informed of their new publications and progress.

The meeting will start with a keynote address by an eminent aging researcher (Dr. Steven Austad).

We propose a workshop to be held on June 18-19, 2015 in Bethesda, MD.

(Contact: Dr. Nancy Nadon, DAB, 301/496-6402).

Sleep in Alzheimer’s Disease: Molecules, Networks, People
Alzheimer's Association International Conference 2015 July 18-23, 2015 - Washington, DC

The National Institute on Aging will cosponsor a Featured Research Session entitled “Sleep in Alzheimer’s Disease: Molecules, Networks, People” during the 2015 Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC), July 18-23, 2015 in Washington, D.C. Older adults with AD often exhibit sleep disturbances and circadian clock disruptions. Although this has been interpreted as a consequence of AD, there is evidence that sleep disturbances may contribute to the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Preclinical signs of AD are associated with poor sleep quality, Abeta (Aβ accumulation in the brain predicts and exacerbates sleep disruption in humans and in animal models, and experimental manipulations to increase sleep result in decreases in Aβ deposition. Although mechanisms underlying the link between sleep and AD are not clear, studies suggest that synaptic activity driven Aβ release is lower during sleep and that the clearance of Aβ from the brain through the glymphatic pathway is facilitated by sleep through an increase in the volume of interstitial space. Functionally, this interaction may offer a novel pathway through which Aβ leads to hippocampal memory dysfunction by impairing sleep-dependent memory consolidation, thus contributing to age-related cognitive decline. Effective interventions exist to improve sleep and these could be utilized in AD prevention. The goals for this session are to (1) describe the relationship between disordered sleep, cognitive decline, and AD, (2) discuss mechanisms by which sleep disturbances might lead to AD-related pathologies, and (3) explore sleep interventions that could be tested in the human population to augment cognitive health. For more information please contact Miroslaw (Mack) Mackiewicz (DN) 301-496-9350, Email:

Renal Pathophysiology - July 20, 2015

Over the years, NIA has supported renal research (both basic science and clinical aspects) that is applicable to issues that we deal with in the elderly. Although we continue to see interests on renal pathophysiology from the research community, we have lost many senior researchers, who had support from NIA.

However, there are significant scientific advances in several areas that are highly relevant to aging and the geriatric population. These areas include animal models, renal biomarkers in acute and chronic kidney disease (CKD, renal fibrosis, autophagy, proteostasis and others). Even though nephrology researchers have begun to apply these advances, they are still not fully exploited by the community. In addition, technologies such as proteomics and metabolomics and their utility to understand renal pathophysiology could be part of this workshop.

We propose an exploratory workshop to be held on July 20, 2015 in Bethesda, MD.

(Contact: Dr. Mahadev Murthy, DAB, 301/496-6402).

Metrics for the Rate of AGING - Summer, 2015

Metrics for the rate of aging can be useful in several contexts, but the primary value is to evaluate human health as we age. If health is good we can anticipate more active life, less disability, less disease and lower health care costs. If health is poor, we anticipate the converse for each of these. The “rate of aging” should be informative of improving, steady or declining health over time. To make such assessments requires some metrics to describe the rate of aging quantitatively. These metrics can also be used to determine whether interventions are effective in ‘slowing’ this rate of aging.

The objective of this workshop will be to evaluate potential metrics for the rate of aging. An initial assessment suggests the following six areas should be considered in this workshop, where these can be clustered in three groups by their similarities: X. Multiple Chronic Conditions, Multiple Chronic Diseases; Y. Frailty, Resilience; Z. Allostatic Load, Molecular Markers. Using these three groups, is it possible to define three axes for metrics that together reveal a rate of aging, but which also can define a “health space” for adults.

Some specific discussions would be appropriate. In Group X: Evaluate the independence or inter-relatedness of chronic conditions and diseases. In Group Y: Evaluate the predictive value of frailty and resilience (and in the case of resilience, what parameters would be appropriate measures, since this may not be sufficiently well-defined). In Group Z: Evaluate the diagnostic versus predictive value for health of parameters at the molecular level.

An exploratory workshop will be held in Summer, 2015 in Bethesda, MD.

(Contact: Dr. Ronald Kohanski, DAB, 301/496-6402).

Assessment of Resilience in Clinical Population - Summer, 2015

The concept of physiological resilience was originally discussed in a workshop convened by DAB in August 2014. The focus of DAB’s meeting was on the development of measures of resilience which could be used in intervention testing studies in rodent models. DGCG’s proposed meeting is intended as a follow up and will focus on the application of the physiological resilience concept in humans. DGCG is proposing a workshop (a day and a half) to discuss the conceptual basis of resilience, how to operationalize resilience, including the methodological issues/challenges of assessing resilience at different ages and in different clinical settings and research designs (e.g., observational vs. interventional studies). DAB has agreed to co-sponsor this meeting if funds are available.

We propose an exploratory workshop to be held in Summer, 2015 in Bethesda, MD.

(Contact(s): Dr. Felipe Sierra, DAB, 301/496-6402, Dr. Evan Hadley, DGCG, 301/496-6761).

Biology of the Genes and Pathways Important for Aging AND Longevity in Humans - Summer, 2015

Many genes and pathways have now been identified to be associated with aging and longevity. For example, FOXO3A, has been shown to be associated with longevity in more than 11 studies in different ethnic human populations. There are overwhelming interests in the underlying mechanisms and translation of these discoveries. However, the functions of these genes and their genetic variants in humans still remain largely obscure. This workshop will evaluate the status of the research on these genes and their genetic variants, and discuss future research directions on understanding the biology and physiology of these genes and their genetic variants in order to translate these discoveries into benefits for human health.

We propose an exploratory workshop to be held in Summer, 2015 in Bethesda, MD.

(Contact: Dr. Max Guo, DAB, 301/496-6402).

General Information/Staff Awards

On March 27, 2015, the Women Scientist Advisors (WSA) held a special program in conjunction with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to honor the WSA Achievement Awardees. Simonetta Camandola, Ph.D., Laboratory of Neurosciences, received the NIA Staff Scientist Award and Jennifer Illuzzi, Ph.D., Laboratory of Molecular Gerontology received the NIA Fellow Award.

Dr. Kevin Volpp has been selected to share the 8th Matilda White Riley Award and Lecture in Behavioral and Social Sciences with Dr. Jeanne Brooks-Gunn. The Lecture will be a central feature of the NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Research (OBSSR) 20th Anniversary celebration on June 23, 2015. The Matilda White Riley Award was established by OBSSR to honor the memory of Matilda White Riley (1911-2004) who was the Associate Director for Behavioral and Social Research at the NIA and who also served as a senior NIH spokesperson on the behavioral and social sciences at NIH.

Publications & Online Resources

National Research Council and Institute of Medicine. (2015). Measuring the Risks and Causes of Premature Death: Summary of Workshops. H.G. Rhodes, Rapporteur. Committee on Population, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Board on Health Care Services, Institute of Medicine. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

This report summarizes the proceedings of two workshops convened in September 2013 and September 2014 to consider issues in the measurement of the risks and causes of premature death. The workshops were sponsored by NIA and convened by the Committee on Population. The workshops were organized by a seven-member steering committee composed of experts in the fields of demography, population health, epidemiology, and health measurement. The committee was co-chaired by Linda Waite of the University of Chicago in 2013, and Eileen Crimmins of the University of Southern California in 2014. The committee provided guidance in developing the workshop agendas, securing expert presentations, and facilitating the conduct of the workshops. The committee also benefited from the input of Richard Suzman, then director of the NIA Division of Behavioral and Social Research, prior to and during the two workshops.

Certain behaviors, exposures and predispositions place people at risk for early death or poor health outcomes. The impetus for the workshops was to better understand the risk factors most amenable to prevention and health policy efforts, primarily behavioral risk factors. The definition of “early” can vary. Michael McGinnis’ initial work focused on deaths prior to age 75, but later work has focused on deaths before age 80. The WHO Global Burden of Disease compares years of life lost against a reference age of 86, or the highest average lifespan of a country with a population over 5 million. Other studies have focused on survival to age 70. This document focuses, among other things, on implications of these definitions, sources of data, and other methodological considerations.

OCPL Contribution to the May 2015 Director’s Status Report

Publications & Online Resources

Books and Fact Sheets:

  • Ejercicio y actividad física: su guía diaria del Instituto Nacional Sobre el Envejecimiento (updated and reprinted)
  • Workout to Go: A Sample Exercise Routine from the National Institute on Aging at NIH (reprinted)
  • AgePage: Healthy Eating After 50 (reprinted)


  • Connections (Spring 2015)

Web products/content (new):

(For more information about NIA’s publications and online resources, contact Vicky Cahan, Director, OCPL, Ph. 301-496-1752.)

Media & Outreach

Press releases

  • NIH-led effort launches Big Data portal for Alzheimer’s drug discovery
  • Hypothermia: A Cold Weather Hazard

Social Media

  • @NIAGo4Life Twitter has 4,000+ followers with an additional 2,500+ subscribing to daily e-alert of tweets
  • @NIHAging Twitter has 2,800+ followers with more than 3,650 subscribing to daily e-alert of tweets
  • “Inside NIA: Blog for Researchers” has 11,600+ subscribers and continues to spur active online conversations
  • NIHSeniorHealth’s weekly Healthy Aging tips has 35,000+ subscribers
  • NIA’s YouTube channel now features 112 videos, including a new video about the recent AD Summit

Meetings & Exhibits

  • American Society on Aging meeting, Chicago, IL, March 23-25 -- OCPL staff presents on syndicating website content and research recruitment
  • In February, Drs. Richard Hodes and Marie Bernard met with University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Chancellor, Dr. Phyllis Wise, to discuss the launch of their new medical school.
  • In February, Drs. Richard Hodes, Neil Buckholtz, and other senior staff met with representatives of the American Neurological Association.
  • In February, Drs. Richard Hodes, Marie Bernard, and other senior staff met with the Friends of the NIA coalition.
  • In March, Drs. Richard Hodes, Marie Bernard, and other senior staff met with the Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research.
  • In March, Dr. Marie Bernard and other senior staff met with representatives of NEOMED (Northeast Ohio Medical University).
  • In March, Drs. Richard Hodes, Marie Bernard, and other senior staff met with representatives of the American Geriatrics Society.

(For more information about NIA’s conferences or exhibits, contact Vicky Cahan, Director, OCPL, Ph. 301-496-1752. For more information about NIA’s professional meetings, contact Dr. Melinda Kelley, Legislative Officer, Ph. 301-451-8835.)

Relevant Notices and Initiatives Published in the NIH Guide

For ‘Notices’ and ‘Research Initiatives’ with NIA’s participation or interest please visit these two websites: and (Please look for ‘Recent Changes in NIH Policy’ on this web link).

An official website of the National Institutes of Health